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Thomas Atkinson

Servicenumber : 206186
Rank : Gunner
Regiment : Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch)
Unit : F Battalion, 3rd Tank Brigade
Date of Death : 07-07-1917
Age : 33
Grave : Plot I. Row A. Grave 14. 
Thomas Atkinson was born in 1885 in Burnley. He was a son of John and Rebecca Atkinson (nee Wardle). Atkinson was married to Mary Lizzie Taylor (formerly Atkinson, nee Whittaker), of 18, Gilbert Street, Harle Syke, Burnley. They married in 1904.
Atkinson worked as a weaver, as a publican and as landlord of the Sun Inn in Burnley before he was conscripted into the Army Service Corps on 13 June 1916. He served as a driver and gunner in the early tanks from the beginning of 1917. 
Atkinson was killed by German shell fire near Ypres in the early hours of 7 july 1917. When he was killed he served with regimental number 38893. Upon the conversion of the Heavy Branch, Machine Gun Corps to the Tank Corps at the end of July 1917, his number was changed to 206186, even though he had been dead at the time of this transition.
On the Great War Forum user 'Sidearm' added the following information about Thomas Atkinson: "It would seem that Thomas Atkinson was the first fatality suffered by F Battalion. In the Battalion War History it states: "In his systematic manner the Bosche used to worry the camp with long range guns. On the night of the 4th [July 1917] a shell burst near the Guard, supplied by 17 Company, killing one man Pte T. Atkinson, and wounding two others, Privates H. Atkinson and F. Bingham." This took place at Oosthoek Wood. Due to this shelling the Battalion moved camp on 6th July to La Louvie.
 Picture: 02-08-2017
 
Sources: Website CWGC, website www.cpgw.org.uk, website www.1914-1918.invisionzone.com (Great War Forum) and website www.westernfrontassociation.com 

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